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William A. Seiter
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The famous Baron Munchausen dumps two dimwits in the African jungle. A rescue team mistakes one of them for the missing Baron, and returns them to the US, where they're greeted as heroes. While giving a speech at a college, the "Baron" falls for a pretty girl, gets tangled up with a trio of nutty janitors and faces being exposed as a phony. Written by
It should be pointed out to anyone reading the reviews here that we are not seeing the Baron Munchausen of German literature. For that you would have to see the German epic film that starred Hans Albers and was made by the Nazi controlled UFA studio during World War II. What we are seeing here is a version of Baron Munchausen adapted by vaudeville comedian Jack Pearl for which he had great success on radio during the Thirties. When Meet The Baron came out, Pearl was at the height of his radio success with the character.
Now the radio show with time out for commercials and a guest star consisted of Pearl telling these outrageous tales in this overblown German accent to straight man Ben Bard who is in the film as well. He was the Charlie to whom Pearl answered whenever 'Charlie' would question the Pearl's veracity, "Vas You Dere Charlie?" That line became the catchphrase associated with the show, as well known in its time as Jack Benny's 'well'.
In fact Pearl and Bard do one of their typical dialogs which comes about 20 minutes into the film and goes about 20 minutes. But Louis B. Mayer was smart enough to know that would not fill out a whole feature film, so MGM loaded the film with such people as Jimmy Durante, Ted Healy and The Three Stooges, and Edna May Oliver. They all get to do the shtick they were all known for.
The starts out bearing some resemblance to the Marx Brothers Animal Crackers and then segues into one of those college pictures so popular in the Thirties. It's a girl's college where Edna May Oliver is the dean. She plays a Margaret Dumont type character, but a lot shrewder and Oliver looks like she's enjoying herself.
Jack Pearl's type of humor is most out of date, but I kind of like it and with so much else to enjoy in Meet The Baron you don't have to be a fan of his to like the film.
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